Leading SAFe 4.5

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Agile Architecture
A set of values and practices that support active evolution of the design and architecture of a system, while implementing new system capabilities.
Agile Release Train (ART)
A long-lived and cross-functional team-of-Agile-teams, which along with other stakeholders, develops and delivers solutions incrementally, using a series of fixed-length Iterations within a Program Increment (PI) timebox. Aligns teams to a common business and technology mission.
Agile Team
A cross-functional group of five to ten people who have the ability and authority to define, build, and test some element of Solution value—all in a short Iteration timebox. Specifically, it incorporates the DevTeam, Scrum Master, and Product Owner roles.
Architectural Runway
Consists of the existing code, components and technical infrastructure necessary to support implementation of prioritized, near-term features, without excessive redesign and delay.
Built-in Quality
Practices that ensure that each Solution element, at every increment, meets appropriate quality standards throughout development.
Business Owners
A small group of stakeholders who have the primary business and technical responsibility for governance, compliance, and Return on Investment for a Solution developed by an Agile Release Train (ART). They are key stakeholders on the ART who must evaluate fitness for use and actively participate in certain ART events.
Capabilities
A higher-level solution behavior that typically spans multiple Agile Release Trains (ARTs). They are sized and split into multiple features so that they can be implemented in a single PI.
Capital Expenses (CapEx) and Operating Expenses (OpEx)
Describe Lean-Agile financial tracking practices in a Value Stream budget. In some cases, may include capitalized labor associated with the development of intangible assets—such as software, intellectual property, and patents.
Communities of Practice (CoPs)
Organized groups of people who have a common interest in a specific technical or business domain. They collaborate regularly to share information, improve their skills, and actively work to advance the general knowledge of the domain.
Compliance
Refers to a strategy, and a set of activities and artifacts that allow teams to apply Lean-Agile development methods to build systems that have the highest possible quality, while simultaneously assuring they meet any regulatory, industry, or other relevant standards.
Continuous Deployment (CD)
The process that takes validated features from Continuous Integration and deploys them into the production environment, where they are tested and readied for release. It is is the third element in the four-part Continuous Delivery Pipeline of Continuous Exploration (CE), Continuous Integration (CI), Continuous Deployment and Release on Demand.
Continuous Exploration (CE)
The process of constantly exploring market and user needs, and defining a Vision, Roadmap, and set of Features that address those needs. It is the first element in the four-part Continuous Delivery Pipeline, preceding Continuous Integration (CI) Continuous Deployment (CD), and Release on Demand.
Continuous Integration (CI)
The process of taking features from the Program Backlog and developing, testing, integrating, and validating them in a staging environment where they are ready for deployment and release. It is the second element in the four-part Continuous Delivery Pipeline.
Core Values
The fundamental beliefs of alignment, built-in quality, transparency, and program execution that are key to SAFe's effectiveness. These guiding principles help dictate behavior and action for everyone who participates in a SAFe portfolio.
Customers
The ultimate economic buyer of every Solution. They are an integral part of the Lean-Agile development process and Value Stream, and have specific responsibilities in SAFe.
Dev Team
A subset of the Agile Team. It consists of the dedicated professionals who can develop and test a story, feature, or component. It typically includes software developers and testers, engineers and other dedicated specialists who are required to complete a vertical slice of functionality.
Develop on Cadence
A strategy for managing the inherent variability in solution development by making sure important events and activities occur on a regular, predictable schedule.
DevOps
A mindset, a culture, and a set of technical practices which provides communication, integration, automation, and close cooperation among all the people needed to plan, develop, test, deploy, release, and maintain a Solution.
Economic Framework
A set of decision rules that aligns everyone to the financial objectives of the Solution, and guides the economic decision-making process. It contains four primary constructs: Lean Budgeting, Epic funding and governance, decentralized economic decision-making, and job sequencing based on the Cost of Delay (CoD).
Enablers
Promote the activities needed to extend the architectural runway to support future business functionality. These include exploration, infrastructure, compliance, and architecture development. They are captured in the various backlogs and occur at all levels of the framework.
Enterprise Architect
Fosters adaptive design and engineering practices, and drives strategic architectural initiatives for a SAFe Portfolio. Also facilitates the reuse of ideas, components, services, and proven patterns across various Solutions in a portfolio.
Enterprise
Represents the business entity that has the ultimate strategic, fiduciary, and governance authority for all the Value Streams and Solutions that make up a SAFe portfolio.
Epic Owners
Responsible for coordinating portfolio epics through the Portfolio Kanban system. They define the Epic, its Minimum Viable Product and lean business case, and when approved, facilitate implementation.
Features
A system service that fulfills a stakeholder need. Each includes a benefits hypothesis and acceptance criteria, and is sized or split as necessary to be delivered by a single Agile Release Train (ART) in a Program Increment (PI).
Innovation and Planning Iteration
Occurs every PI and serves multiple purposes. It acts as an estimating buffer for meeting PI objectives, as well as providing dedicated time for innovation, continuing education, and PI planning and Inspect and Adapt (I&A) events.
Inspect & Adapt (I&A)
A significant event, held at the end of each Program Increment (PI), where the current state of the Solution is demonstrated and evaluated. Teams then reflect, and identify improvement backlog items via a structured, problem-solving workshop.
Iteration Execution
How Agile teams manage their work throughout the iteration timebox, resulting in a high-quality, working, tested system increment.
Iteration Goals
High-level summaries of the business and technical goals that the team agrees to accomplish in an iteration. Serving as a primary communication mechanism within the team, as well as to the team's stakeholders, they help ensure alignment with the PI objectives.
Iteration Planning
An event where all team members determine how much of the team backlog they can commit to delivering during an upcoming iteration. The team summarizes the work as a set of committed iteration goals.
Iteration Retrospective
A regular meeting where Agile Team members discuss the results of the iteration, review their practices, and identify ways to improve.
Iteration Review
A cadence-based event where each team inspects the increment at the end of every iteration to assess progress, and then adjusts its backlog for the next iteration.
Iteration
The basic building block of Agile development. Each is a standard, fixed-length timebox during which Agile teams deliver incremental value in the form of working, tested software and systems. They may last from one to four weeks, with two weeks as the suggested and most common duration.
Large Solution Level
Contains the roles, artifacts and processes needed to build large and complex solutions. This includes a stronger focus on capturing requirements in Solution Intent, the coordination of multiple Agile Release Trains (ARTs) and Suppliers, and the need to ensure compliance with regulations and standards.
Lean and Agile Principles
Nine immutable and underlying principles on which SAFe is based. These are the fundamental tenets, basic truths, and economic premises that inspire and inform the roles and practices that make SAFe effective:
Lean Budgets
A set of practices that minimizes overhead by funding and empowering Value Streams rather than projects, while maintaining financial and fitness-for-use governance. This is achieved through objective evaluation of working systems, prudent management of Epic investments, and dynamic budget adjustments.
Lean Portfolio Management (LPM)
A function that represents the individuals with the highest-level of decision-making and financial accountability for a SAFe portfolio. This group is responsible for three primary areas: strategy and investment funding, Agile program guidance, and Lean governance.
Lean User Experience (Lean UX)
A design mindset, a culture, and a process that embraces Lean-Agile methods. It implements functionality in minimum viable increments, and determines success by measuring results against an outcome hypothesis.
Lean-Agile Leaders
Lifelong learners who are responsible for the successful adoption of SAFe and the results it delivers. They empower and help teams build better systems by learning, exhibiting, teaching and coaching SAFe's Lean-Agile principles and practices.
Lean-Agile Mindset
The combination of beliefs, assumptions, and actions of SAFe leaders and practitioners who embrace the concepts of the Agile Manifesto and Lean thinking. It's the personal, intellectual and leadership foundation for adopting and applying SAFe's principles and practices.
Metrics
Agreed-upon measures used to evaluate how well the organization is progressing toward the portfolio, large solution, program, and the team's business and technical objectives.
Milestones
Used to track progress toward a specific goal or event. There are three types: Program Increment, fixed-date, and learning.
Model Based Systems Engineering (MBSE)
The practice of developing a set of related system models that help define, design and document a system under development. These models provide an efficient way to explore, update, and communicate system aspects to stakeholders, while significantly reducing or eliminating dependence on traditional documents.
Nonfunctional Requirements (NFRs)
Define system attributes such as security, reliability, performance, maintainability, scalability, and usability. They serve as constraints or restrictions on the design of the system across the different backlogs.
Portfolio Backlog
The highest-level backlog in SAFe. It provides a holding mechanism for the upcoming Business and Enabler Epics intended to create a comprehensive portfolio solution set, one that provides the competitive differentiation and/or operational efficiencies necessary to address the Strategic Themes and facilitate business success.
Portfolio Kanban
A method used to visualize and manage the analysis, prioritization and flow of portfolio epics from ideation to implementation and completion.
Portfolio Level
The SAFe Level that contains the guidance, practices and roles needed to initiate and govern a set of development value streams. It provides the strategy and investment funding for people and resources, Agile program guidance, and Lean governance.
Pre-and Post-PI Planning
Planning events that are used to prepare for, and follow-up after, PI Planning for Agile Release Trains (ARTs) and Suppliers in a Solution Train.
Product Management
The role that has content authority for the Program Backlog. They are responsible for identifying customer needs, prioritizing features and developing the program Vision and Roadmap.
Product Owner (PO)
The content authority for the team level. They are responsible for the team backlog, prioritizing and accepting stories, and representing the customer to the Agile team.
Program Backlog
The final state in the Program Kanban, which is also the last state of Continuous Exploration. It's the holding area for a prioritized list of Features that have been analyzed and are intended to address user needs and deliver business benefits for a single Agile Release Train (ART). It also contains the Enabler features necessary to build the Architectural Runway.
Program and Solution Kanban
Methods used to visualize and manage the flow of value from ideation to analysis, implementation, and release. They support the flow of features and capabilities through the full Continuous Delivery Pipeline of Continuous Exploration, Continuous Integration, Continuous Deployment, and Release on Demand.
Program Increment (PI)
A timebox in which an Agile Release Train (ART) delivers incremental value in the form of working, tested software and systems. They are typically eight to twelve weeks long, and the most common pattern for one is four development iterations, followed by one Innovation and Planning (IP) iteration.
Program Increment (PI) Planning
A cadence-based, face-to-face event that serves as the heartbeat of the Agile Release Train (ART), aligning all the teams on the ART to a common mission and vision.
Program Level
The level that contains the roles and activities needed to continuously deliver solutions via an Agile Release Train (ART).
Refactoring
The activity of improving the internal structure or operation of a code or component without changing its external behavior.
Release on Demand
The process by which features deployed into production are released incrementally or immediately to Customers based on market demand.
Release Train Engineer (RTE)
A servant leader and coach for the Agile Release Train. Facilitates the major events and processes, and assists the teams in delivering value. Communicates with stakeholders, escalate impediments, help manage risk, and drive continuous improvement.
Roadmap
A schedule of events and milestones that communicate planned Solution deliverables over a timeline. It includes commitments for the planned Program Increment (PI) and offers visibility into the deliverables forecasted for the next few PIs.
SAFe Implementation Roadmap
Consists of an overview graphic and a twelve-article series that describes a strategy and an ordered set of activities that have proven to be effective in successfully implementing SAFe.
SAFe Program Consultants
Change agents who combine their technical knowledge of SAFe with an intrinsic motivation to improve their company's software and systems development processes. They play a critical role in successfully implementing SAFe. SPCs come from numerous internal or external roles, including business and technology leaders, portfolio/program/project managers, process leads, architects, analysts, and consultants.
Scrum Master
Servant leader and coach for an Agile team. Helps educate the team in Scrum, eXtreme Programming, Kanban and SAFe, ensuring that the agreed Agile process is being followed. Also helps remove impediments, and fosters an environment for high-performing team dynamics, continuous flow, and relentless improvement.
ScrumXP
A lightweight process for cross-functional, self-organized teams to deliver value within the context of SAFe. Combines the power of Scrum project management practices with extreme programming technical practices.
Set-based Design
A practice that keeps requirements and design options flexible for as long as possible during the development process. Instead of teams choosing a single point solution upfront, set-based design identifies and simultaneously explores multiple options and eliminate poorer choices over time. It enhances flexibility in the design process, commits to technical solutions only after validating assumptions, and produces better economic outcomes.
Shared Services
Services that represent the specialty roles, people and services necessary for the success of an Agile Release Train (ART) or Solution Train, but that cannot be dedicated full-time.
Solution Architect/Engineer
The role that represents an individual or small team that defines a common technical and architectural vision for the Solution under development. They participate in defining the system, subsystems, and interfaces; validate technology assumptions; and evaluate alternatives. They help align the Solution Train and the Agile Release Train (ART) to a common technological and architectural vision.
Solution Backlog
The backlog that is the final state in the Program Kanban, which is also the last state of Continuous Exploration. It's the holding area for a prioritized list of Features that have been analyzed and are intended to address user needs and deliver business benefits for a single Agile Release Train (ART). It also contains the Enabler features necessary to build the Architectural Runway. It is the holding area for upcoming Capabilities and Solution enablers, each of which can span multiple ARTs, and are intended to advance the Solution and build its architectural runway.
Solution Context
Identifies critical aspects of the operational environment for a Solution. It provides an essential understating of requirements, usage, installation, operation, and support of the solution itself. Also heavily influences opportunities and constraints for Release on Demand.
Solution Demo
Where the results of development efforts from the Solution Train (e.g. multiple Agile Release Trains (ARTs) and the contributions from Suppliers) are integrated, evaluated, and made visible to customers and other stakeholders.
Solution Kanban
Method used to visualize and manage the flow of value from ideation to analysis, implementation, and release. Supports the flow of features and capabilities through the full Continuous Delivery Pipeline of Continuous Exploration, Continuous Integration, Continuous Deployment, and Release on Demand.
Solution Management
The role that has content authority for the Solution Backlog. They work with Customers to understand their needs, create the Solution vision and Roadmap, define requirements, and guide work through the Solution Kanban.
Solution Train Engineer (STE)
Servant leader and coach for a Solution Train. Facilitates and guides the work of all ARTs and Suppliers in the Value Stream.
Solution Train
The SAFe organizational construct used to build large and complex Solutions that require the coordination of multiple Agile Release Trains (ARTs), as well as the contributions of Suppliers. Aligns ARTs to a shared business and technology mission using a common Solution Vision, Backlog and Roadmap, and an aligned Program Increment (PI) cadence.
Solution
One or more of these are produced by each Value Stream. They are products, services, or systems delivered to the Customer, whether internal or external to the enterprise.
Spikes
A type of exploration Enabler story in SAFe. Originally defined within XP, they are used for activities such as research, design, investigation, exploration, and prototyping.
Supplier
An internal or external organization that develops and delivers components, subsystems or services that help Solution Trains deliver Solutions to their customers.
System and Solution Architect/Engineer
The role that represents an individual or small team that defines a common technical and architectural vision for the Solution under development. They participate in defining the system, subsystems, and interfaces; validate technology assumptions; and evaluate alternatives. They help align the Solution Train and the Agile Release Train (ART) to a common technological and architectural vision.
System Demo
A significant event that provides an integrated view of new features for the most recent iteration delivered by all the teams in the Agile Release Train (ART). Provides ART stakeholders with an objective measure of progress during a program increment.
System Team
A special Agile team that provides assistance in building and using the Agile development environment, including continuous integration, test automation and continuous deployment. Assists with the integration of assets from Agile teams, performs end-to-end Solution testing where necessary, and assists with deployment and release.
Team Backlog
The backlog that contains user and enabler stories that originate from the program backlog, as well as stories that arise locally from the team's specific context. It can contain other work items as well, representing all the things a team needs to do to advance their portion of the system.
Team Kanban
A method that helps teams facilitate the flow of value by visualizing work flow, establishing work-in-process limits, measuring throughput, and continuously improving their process.
Team Level
The level that contains the roles, activities, events and processes through which Agile teams build and deliver value in the context of the Agile Release Train (ART).
Test-First
A Built-in Quality practice derived from eXtreme Programing (XP). If focuses on building the tests before the implementation to improve delivery by focus on the results.
Value Stream Coordination
Provides guidance for managing dependencies across value streams in a portfolio.
Value Streams
Represent the series of steps that an organization uses to build Solutions that provide a continuous flow of value to a customer. Used to define and realize Portfolio business objectives and organize Agile Release Trains (ARTs) to deliver value more rapidly.
Vision
A description of the future state of the Solution under development. It reflects customer and stakeholder needs, as well as the features and capabilities proposed to meet those needs.
Weighted Shortest Job First (WSJF)
A prioritization model used to sequence jobs (e.g., Features, Capabilities, and Epics) to produce maximum economic benefit. In SAFe, it is estimated as the cost of delay divided by job size.
Strategic Themes
Differentiating, specific, and itemized business objectives that connect a portfolio to the strategy of the enterprise. They provide business context for decision-making, and serve as inputs to the vision, budget, and backlogs for the Portfolio, Large Solution, and Program levels. Their primary purpose is to drive portfolio innovation and differentiation.
Value Stream KPIs
The set of criteria defined for a value stream which can be used to evaluate the ongoing investment.
Stories
Short descriptions of a small piece of desired functionality, written in the user's language. Implement small, vertical slices of system functionality, sized so they can be completed by the Agile Team in a single iteration.
Solution Intent
The repository for storing, managing, and communicating the knowledge of current and intended Solution behavior. Where required, this includes documented, fixed, and variable specifications and designs; reference to applicable standards, system models, functional and nonfunctional tests; and traceability.
Holding cost
The cost for delaying feedback and value by holding a batch of work items (by not immediately performing the work).
Transaction cost
The fixed (overhead cost) and variable costs of executing (doing the work required to realize) the items in the batch.
Cumulative Flow Diagram (CFD)
Tool used in queuing theory. Area graph that depicts the quantity of work in a given state, showing arrivals, time in queue, quantity in queue, and departure.
Business Value (BV)
an informal term that includes all forms of value that determine the health and well-being of the firm in the long run.
Big, Visual, Information Radiator (BVIR)
Large graphical representation of project information kept plainly in sight within an agile development team's shared workspace. Provides visibility into the status of the stories, defects, and other activities that the team is working on during the iteration.
Definition of Done (DoD)
Acceptance criteria consistently used by a team across all User Stories. Drives the quality of work and is used to assess when a User Story has been completed.
Daily Stand-up (DSU)
A formal ceremony a team has each day to understand where they are, escalate problems, and get help from other team members. During this meeting each team member describes what they did yesterday, what they are going to work on today, and any "blocks" they are encountering. As this is a daily coordination meeting, it has to be kept short and to the point by the Scrum Master. The meeting should take no more than 15 minutes and is done standing up in front of the story board.
Plan, Do Check, Adjust (PDCA)
An iterative four-stage model used in business process management for continuous improvement (CI).
Program Portfolio Management (PPM)
Represents the function that has the highest-level strategy and fiduciary decision-making responsibility in an enterprise portfolio. It has responsibility for strategy and invstment funding, program management, and governance.
Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, Time-bound (SMART)
A project management tool used to set project objectives and evaluate if those objectives fit the project.
Scrum of Scrums (SoS)
A technique to scale Scrum up to large groups (over a dozen people), consisting of dividing the groups into Agile teams of 5-10. Each daily scrum within a sub-team ends by designating one member as "ambassador" to participate in a daily meeting with ambassadors from other teams.
SAFe Practitioner (SP)
A Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe) team member responsible for using Scrum, Kanban, and Extreme Programming (XP) in a SAFe environment.
SAFe Program Consultants (SPC)
Change agents who combine their technical knowledge of SAFe with an intrinsic motivation to improve their company's software and systems development processes. They play a critical role in successfully implementing SAFe, and are now represented as part of the SAFe Foundation.
Value Stream Engineer (VSE)
Facilitates value stream processes and execution. Escalates impediments, manages risk, and helps ensure value delivery and continuous improvement
Work in Progress (WIP)
A limit which serves as a strategy for preventing bottlenecks in software development. Limits are agreed upon by the development team before a project begins and are enforced by the team's facilitator.
PI Predictability Measure
A measure that shows whether achievements fall into an acceptable process control band. Plots 'percent business value achieved' against PI.
Epic
A container for a solution development initiative large enough to require analysis, definition of a Minimum Viable Product (MVP), and financial approval prior to implementation. Implementation occurs over multiple Program Increments (PIs), and follows the Lean build-measure-learn startup cycle.
Business epics
Large initiatives in SAFe that drive business value and typically cross the organizational boundaries (release trains), time boundaries (PIs), or both.
Program epic
An initiative that is constrained to a single program.
Portfolio epic
An initiative that involves more than one program.
Enabler epic
An epic used to advance the Architectural Runway to support upcoming business epics.
Lightweight Business Case
An artifact that captures the results from analysis done in the Analysis phase of the Kanban process. Ultimately, it is used to make a go/no-go decision for a Portfolio Epic.
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